Response to 9/11

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Transcripts available in the following languages:

I was the first Chairman of the Board when we opened the Pavilion building. And shortly after that, 9/11 happened in New York. We Japanese Americans immediately sensed the ripple effects that might go out from that to Arab Americans.

The first meeting after 9/11, Irene Hirano, our President then and CEO had some connections with the Arab American community in Detroit. Or, Dearborne. And we moved our first board meeting from Los Angeles to Deerborne, Michigan. And we heard from the leaders of the Arab American community and their concerns. And we shared with them the hysteria that engulfed the Japanese American community and that we will work as strenuously as we can to prevent that kind of hysteria that was inflicted on us from happening to the Arab American community.

It did happen. Not on the scale that it happened to Japanese Americans, but there still was that. And we'd like to think that the existence of the museum and the voice of Japanese Americans - at that time, Norm Mineta, one of our trustees, was on the President's cabinet as Secretary of Transportation - and so our voice, the existence of the museum, and the presence of Japanese Americans throughout the American community, I think, helped to temper the kind of hysteria that affected Japanese Americans in 1942.

Date: February 3, 2015
Location: California, US
Interviewer: John Esaki, Janice Tanaka
Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

9/11 arab americans japanese americans

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